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Commentary :: DNC : DNC : DNC : International : Organizing
Deception: When Facts Aren't Real
10 Jul 2004
Peanuts, French Fries, Broccoli, Homeland Security, Ho Hos, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Saddam and Al Qaeda, When Facts Aren't Real and Real Things Aren't Facts
Ronald Reagan is still dead.

And, I am not... not yet. Thanks once again to the good people at University College of London Hospital, I exist still as a living, breathing, ranting human being. Although Elisa's magic mole sauce succeeded in pleasing my stomach, the rest of my body took the anaphylactic route and prescribed heavy doses of swelling, hives, light headedness and my old friend asthma. I became a big red balloon of a man... headed for shock.

What a poison food can be at times... at least this is what my body tells me. Some things -like my health- I take for granted...

It is a fact: peanuts and Adam don't mix well.

But we're both great at parties!

A fact that I was not aware of until recently is that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) now defines French Fries as vegetables.

According to the Food Reference Website, one of the earliest references to French Fries comes A Tale of Two Cities when Dickens writes, "husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil."

Dan Quayle, a fellow Hoosier, will note that Dickens spells potato with an 'e'. You may note the next time I eat a plate of French Fries -or chips as they say here in London- that I eat mine with mustard and pepper. Long ago I tired of that other great USDA defined vegetable -ketchup- as a condiment for les pommes frites.

Liberty Fries. What a laugh! Liberate me from heart disease.

Can we conclude that there is some great and rather bizarre Republican conspiracy when it comes to the classification of vegetables? What was up with broccoli?

While in office George Herbert Walker Bush said the following:

"I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a kid and my
mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not
going to eat any more broccoli."

Anti-oxidants be damned, broccoli -bad. Texas corn fed beef -good. They do eat corn, right?

Ronald Reagan may have found facts to be stupid things, but here are some... just for the sake of argument.

At the end of this week the Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, announced that there was credible evidence that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were planning a terrorist attack to coincide with this summer's political conventions, or maybe the elections in November... he couldn't be too specific. He went on to say that "We lack precise knowledge about time, place and method of attack, but... we are actively working to gain that knowledge."

Wouldn't it be better to say nothing? Why scare the shit out of people and not even offer us the crumb of raising the terror alert level to a more vivid color?

Throw these dogs some bones!

"These are not conjectures or statements we are making, these are pieces of information that we can trace comfortably to sources that we deem credible."

Here's the thing. I don't believe a single thing this man says, and I honestly don't think you should either. Hear me out. If the information he says is credible and reliable... if it is fact, why jeopardize informants by revealing to everyone that they are informing? No. It doesn't make sense, because whatever information we have access to would cease. The bad guys always kill informers. This type of rhetoric challenges the veracity of all that we've been told. Will there come a time when we see apples, but Ridge, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld tell us that they are carrots?

The time is already here... and the carrots are leading us to a desperate and very dark place.

Besides recycling our latent fears to bolster confidence in the present administration's handling of the so-called 'War on Terror', this announcement provides a pretext for 'super-sized' security details at the Democratic and Republican conventions. With the prospect that protestors may voice dissent over such popular policies as the war in Iraq, the administration has chosen a policy curtailing the right to free speech rather than fostering it.

Are these 'facts' real and are 'real' things facts? What a foolish question, and yet today it must be asked all the time.

Deception.

1976. The terrible peas -I remember the smell today as vividly as I experienced it then. The cafeteria food at St. Paul's Elementary forced me to petition my mother to let me take a lunch. And so the daily ritual of a bologna sandwich on white bread, chips, a piece of fruit and a treat began. Because I often raised a fit when I found a Little Debbie snack cakes in my lunch, mom usually gave me a Hostess snack. Ding Dongs, Cup Cakes, Twinkies... but my favorite of all was the chocolate-coated swirling goodness of the Ho Ho.

Today Americans eat over 200 million Ho Hos a year. That's a lot of Ho Hos.

What goodness! So good, that I often engaged in covert operations to obtain more than my share. Since mom would notice when either my sister or I took any extra from the Ho Ho box, I went to work shortly after we brought the groceries home from the store. Stealthily opening the cupboard, I would extract the Ho Ho box and flee to the security of my room. Flipping the box over on its back, I would carefully split open its belly with scissors, remove two Ho Hos, glue the box back together and then return it to the cupboard.

I don't remember her ever catching-on, but she had to have known... that's what moms do -they know things.

Just for the record, I don't eat Ho Hos any more...

Back to the facts.

February 2003. Hans Blix, Chief United Nations weapons inspector, reports that his inspection teams did not discover any evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

February 2003. The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, makes the case to the UN Security Council that Saddam Hussein has violated Resolution 1441 which called for Iraq to disarm all its WMDs and prohibited them from developing any new ones. With Ambassador Negroponte hovering in the background, Powell raised a series of photographs and pointed to where the WMDs lived. It was fact.

We now know that the fact that there is a picture does not make something real. Pointing at something shouldn't make it any more real or any more false. But Powell, with his words and our imagination, accomplished the goal: he made WMDs appear where they did not exist. We believed. We were deceived.

January 2004. David Kay, the former head of the US weapons inspection team stated that he did not believe that Iraq had any stockpiles of WMDs; but Powell hung-on to the idea that "this game is still unfolding."

February 2004. Powell admitted that the "absence of a stockpile changes the political calculus" as to whether or not he would have performed in the three-ringed circus of the UN Security Council a year earlier.

Deception.

August 1964. Unprovoked, the North Vietnamese attack a US destroyer in the Tonkin Gulf and launch a second attack two days later. This event provided the pretext for an escalation in US military operations, and in retaliation President Johnson ordered the bombing of North Viet Nam. A war began.

The only problem: the North Vietnamese never attacked.

Deception.

The assertion that a relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda became one of the many publicly stated reasons for the US to invade Iraq. Actually there was a buffet of reasons, but trust me this one was among the choices offered. The reasoning goes like this: if Saddam Hussein had aided in the terrorist attacks of September 2001, we would be justified in bombing Iraq back into the stoneage too.

September 2003. Dick Cheney said that Iraq was "the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on September 11."

June 2004. "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda," George W. Bush stated defiantly.

Yesterday. The Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed that no such relationship existed.

Deception. Some deceptions we may choose to ignore, while others we should not.

Classified facts remain hidden behind what they tell us is real, and the real remains clouded in a flurry of facts. With the absence of candor and the inability of our leaders to 'face facts', we have reached a level of weariness that the occasional bone of truth does not whet... but I'm mixing too many metaphors. Is it the medication, or our new world order?

None of this has a tidy ending... or a happy one, I fear. There is nothing tidy or happy resulting from this mess. There is -I hope- a threshold where we realize that all these seemingly disparate facts are errors... errors that compel us to stop listening, stop accepting, stop reading and writing about things... errors that compel us to act. If we choose not to act, then I am convinced that these errors will be evidence of our complicity.

Adam Christopher Snow © 2004

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
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Re: Deception: When Facts Aren't Real
10 Jul 2004
Has anybody been to Ho Ho's $1 a scoop? I think that and mildly insane old men who can move their eyes independently have something to do with this story.